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Should we let out cat outdoors when we move to our new home?


Question: Should we let out cat outdoors when we move to our new home?
Where we are moving to, there are very few roads and plenty of green and trees around. I would like to let the cat out, to explore and give him some independance as he loves getting out(he has sneaked out for 2 minutes numerous times)My partner says it's too late to let him out as he won't know how to defend himself.

Would you agree that it is not too late to let him explore at our new house, or will he be too domesticated now to risk it?

Answer: When humans took on the domestication of cats thousands of years ago, we also assumed certain responsibilities, including the one of ensuring their safety and well-being. You noted that your cat has been basically an indoor cat in your present home, due to traffic hazards (even though he has snuck out a couple of times.)

I have to side with your partner here. Even though your new home may be in a relatively safer area, there are still certain hazards that may be found there. Just a few are:

  • Predators
    Woodsy, green areas are attractive to bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes, and other predators indigenous to an area. Owls or raptors such as hawks may find a smaller cat a tasty morsel.
  • Large Dogs
    Unfortunately, dog owners in an area such as you describe, will often let their dogs run loose, and free-ranging dogs often form packs, against which a cornered cat does not stand a chance.
  • Other Cats
    Your cat could accidentally stray into the territory "owned" by another cat, and find himself involved in a life-and-death battle. Even if he emerged victorious, if the other cat is feral or stray, he could pass on serious diseases to your cat through bite wounds, such as FIV or FeLV . (FeLV can also be passed on through casual contact.)

Consider an Alternative

If you, like many cat lovers, feel that your cat would be happier and healthier by exposure to fresh air and sunshine, consider building an enclosure on the property where your cat can safely enjoy the outdoors. You can find articles with plans, as well as photos, under my DIY Outdoor Enclosures section.

Best of both worlds, in my opinion.

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